The long shadow of May 25 incident

Govt appears bent on exposing the heavy-handedness of officials at the time


Muhammad Shahzad October 03, 2022
PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE:

Three major burglary incidents took place in the provincial capital last week. The first incident took place in a house in Shahdara Town where a maid, along with her accomplices, allegedly stole valuables worth over Rs25 million using a duplicate key when the household members were away. Police claimed to have arrested the prime suspect.

A man in Nawab Town was robbed of valuables worth around Rs20 million. The robbers could not be identified. In the third incident, which was reported in Defence C area, three suspected robbers disguising themselves as delivery boys looted valuables worth over Rs27.5 million. The suspects have been arrested by a CIA team.

Among other developments during the week, the most important one appears to be the formation of a commission to probe into the May 25 incident in which the activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) were allegedly tortured.

Since Pervaiz Elahi became the chief minister of Punjab with the support of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Punjab government has been allegedly consistently putting pressure on the police high command to “make an example out of those police officers and those in the police rank and file” who had allegedly played a role in stopping the PTI’s Long March on Islamabad during the brief tenure of Hamza Shehbaz as the chief executive of the province.

Earlier, the government did make an effort through the IGP of Punjab to find out those policemen who had allegedly been involved in stopping the Long March.

Punjab IGP Faisal Shahkar had written a letter to the CCPO and to all the RPOs, seeking details about the police action on May 25.

Then a committee comprising some senior police officers was set up in Lahore which asked the SHOs, the DSPs and the upper subordinates to submit their replies in writing.

The Punjab government also made an attempt to persuade the police to register FIRs against the cops. However, the government backtracked on the idea after it faced resistance from the top brass of the police.

Nevertheless, to find a way out a consensus between the government and the police top brass was reportedly reached: if police gave the PTI leaders involved in the Punjab Assembly fiasco a clean chit, the government would not demand registration of FIRs against the cops.

After exhausting different options, the Punjab government has now opted for the option of demanding a judicial commission to probe into the May 25 incidents.

Such “political maneuverings” to “influence” the police are actually demoralizing the police high command. This conclusion is drawn from getting the insights into what is on the mind of “the inner circles”.

Some police officers, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that such political maneuverings did affect the morale of the police department.

Punjab government has now opted for demanding a judicial commission to probe into the May 25 crackdown

Due to the apprehensions of becoming a target of a successive government, some police officers opted to playing it safe and going into the background or taking a reconciliatory path instead of coming down hard on their associates.

The uncertainty in the rank and file of the police department due to politicization coupled with massive transfers has diverted the attention of the police from its prime function, namely, crime prevention.

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